Dillon is the assistant hitting coach with the world champion Washington Nationals
With their managerial position filled by Joe Girardi and the pitching coach job now taken by Bryan Price, the Philadelphia Phillies will now turn their attention to filling the open hitting coach post.
Until this point, no names had been publicly named as candidates for the job. That all changed today when the name of Joe Dillon, assistant hitting coach with the newly crowned world champion Washington Nationals, was floated by NBC Sports Philadelphia insider Jim Salisbury.
Salisbury noted that it would not be likely that the Phillies could bring in Kevin Long, who served as the hitting coach under Girardi for much of the skipper’s time with the New York Yankees. Long just finished up his second season as the Nationals hitting coach.
However, Dillon could make for an interesting candidate in his own right. Salisbury noted the following:
“…he’s gaining recognition around the game for marrying new-age science with old-school principles in coaching hitters. Long, in fact, has called Dillon “the best assistant hitting coach in the baseball.” Anyone of that distinction, coming off a World Series title, would seem to be in line for advancement in the game.”
The 44-year-old Dillon is a NoCal native who was the seventh round choice of the Kansas City Royals in the 1997 MLB Draft out of Texas Tech University. He played for parts of four big-league seasons with the Marlins, Brewers, and Rays.
Dillon got into coaching following his retirement, and served as the hitting coach for the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliates at Syracuse before becoming the minor league hitting coordinator for the Miami Marlins in 2016.
In a March 2018 piece for the Washington Post, Jorge Castillo wrote of Dillon’s influential methods with the Nationals:
“Dillon has brought revolutionary methods to the batting cage, methods even Long hadn’t incorporated in his lauded work with the New York Yankees and Mets. Rather than the standard half-speed drills, the banal soft tossing and tee work, Dillon is a proponent of creating game-like conditions outside of actual games. The concept is standard across sports. It’s novel in baseball.”
It remains to be seen whether Dillon actually gets the job as the Phillies hitting instructor, or whether he will even receive an interview. He’ll be enjoying a World Series championship parade and visit to the White House over the next few days.
But Dillon’s name has now surfaced as the first possible candidate for this important job. It would seem hard to beat his reputation and qualifications.
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